Diabetes in Young People Is on the Rise
How is diabetes in kids and teens projected to increase in 40 years? New research shows what might be coming.
What’s important about this study?
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can develop at any age. This study shows how both types of diabetes are projected to increasingly affect kids and teens in the next 40 years. It also emphasizes the importance of diabetes prevention (when possible) and management.
What did this study examine?
Researchers used data from 2002 to 2017 to study the increasing rate of young people under age 20 with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. They then used mathematical models based on this trend to predict how diabetes in this age group will increase by 2060.
What are the terms to know?
- Type 1 diabetes is when the body does not produce enough insulin, the hormone that balances blood sugar levels. There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes at this time.
- Type 2 diabetes is when the body loses the ability over time to use insulin. In some people, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and being physically active.
- Incidence refers to the number of people diagnosed with a condition over a certain timeframe. Incidence in this study is measured in two ways: constant incidence, when the rate of new diabetes cases stays the same, and increasing incidence, when the rate of new cases continues to increase based on past growth trends.
What were the results?
- Researchers forecasted the number of kids and teens who will be diagnosed with diabetes from 2017 to 2060 based on two scenarios:
- Constant incidence: If the rate of new cases stays the same, type 1 diabetes cases would remain about the same. Type 2 diabetes cases would increase about 70%. Total diabetes cases would increase about 12%.
- Increasing incidence: If the rate of new cases continues to trend upwards, type 1 diabetes cases would increase about 65%, and type 2 diabetes cases would increase about 700%. Total diabetes cases would increase by about 147%.
Diabetes Projections for Young People Aged less than 20 Years
- Researchers also examined data by race and ethnicity and predicted higher increases in diabetes cases among young people who were Black, Hispanic or Latino, Asian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native compared to young people who were White. This finding reinforces CDC’s actions to advance health equity.
- Researchers created a hypothetical model that decreased the annual incidence of diabetes by 2% through prevention efforts. This model reduced the increase of young people with diabetes to 294,000, compared to an increase up to 526,000 without prevention efforts.
What is the main message?
In both scenarios presented in this study, researchers expect diabetes in young people to increase over the next 40 years. This study highlights the importance of diabetes prevention efforts where possible for kids and teens.